Upper limb stroke rehabilitation
APP REVIEW Jasmin Cheah, APAM, reviews an app that can help clinicians decide the best upper limb interventions to use for patients with stroke.
Developer: Pivot Design Group
Get it: Google Play or App Store
Funded by the Toronto Rehab Foundation, Canadian stroke network, ViaTherapy is the product of almost five years of collaboration between members of an international panel comprising medical doctors, physiotherapists and occupational therapists involved in the fields of neurology and rehabilitation.
This app is designed to help clinicians decide on the best evidence-based rehabilitation treatments for stroke patients with upper limb impairments. It is a great adjunct tool particularly for those who may be time poor, struggling to recall established therapies, or require further ideas to create a specific treatment plan for their patients.
When first opening the app, users are asked a few yes or no questions about the patient’s presentation, such as the duration since having a stroke, whether there is shoulder pain, and if there is any voluntary muscle activity in the upper limb.
This allows not only a tailored but also an assorted list of interventions to be created, ranging from motor practice and electrical stimulation, to pharmacotherapy and carer training.
Clicking on each listed intervention will lead to a screen providing a description of the treatment and its benefits, the types of patients it can and cannot be used for, dosage, whether it can be self- administered, and how its effectiveness can be measured over time, as well as a list of references.
To get the most out of this app, it is recommended to initially read the ‘about this app’ page via the link on the opening screen, as well as to gain familiarity of the symbols listed with each intervention. Filters can also be used to assist in narrowing the selection of interventions.
If upgraded, this app could be improved to be more interactive, for example, with the inclusion of videos or diagrams, and be expanded to involve other areas or impairments potentially affected after a stroke (eg, lower limbs, neglect, balance).
- recommendations are based on credible and reliable research evidence and collaboration of an international panel
- can be used for stroke patients with varying onset
- wide variety of interventions to choose from based on the patient’s presentation
- interventions are ranked by level of evidence, feasibility, effectiveness, expert opinion, and cost.
- only focuses on improving upper limb impairments
- recommendations will become outdated with the advancement of new research and therapeutic interventions.
Note: The views expressed by the reviewer are not necessarily those of the APA.
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